Case Western Reserve University Receives $4M from National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to Fund the Center for Synchrotron Biosciences

Aug. 14, 2009

The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund the Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences.

The Center, to be funded through 2014, provides resources for the NIH funded scientific community to support the study of the structure and dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids.

"These studies are critical for understanding the normal biology of all organisms and the molecular effects of disease including the design of drugs to control cellular processes and the understanding of the molecular interactions that mediate the spread of viruses and bacteria," said Mark Chance, Ph.D., the lead investigator and Director of the Case Western Reserve University's Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics.

Since 1995, Chance has served as the director of the Center for Synchrotron Biosciences, located at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Under his direction the Center has developed a number of novel structural biology tools and built infrastructure to serve an international community of biomedical scientists. The Center currently serves over 550 users at the National Synchrotron Light Source through the operation of four synchrotron beamlines that provide state-of-the art equipment, techniques, user support, and training for radiolytic footprinting, x-ray spectroscopy, and macromolecular crystallography experiments. The users come from across the United States and from around the world.

By way of the newly awarded grant, the Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences will continue to provide three Technology Cores supported by a highly trained user staff:

  1. A footprinting core, based on the world.leading X28C footprinting beamline, will provide facilities to study the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids, including in vivo studies. These include novel structural mass spectrometry and proteomics approaches invented in the center that permit scientists to understand the structure of large macromolecular complexes and membrane proteins.
  2. An x-ray spectroscopy core, based on the X3B beamline, will receive a detector upgrade bringing its capabilities to state-of-the art in the United States. These facilities provide investigators a novel understanding of the role of metal atoms in proteins, which are necessary to their functions of binding and enzymatic catalysis.
  3. The macromolecular crystallography core will provide one of the most productive macromolecular crystallography facilities in the world. In particular, the X29 undulator beamline has already contributed to the second most solved crystal structures of any beamline in the world in 2008 and 2009, with one new structure solved every two days.

Efficient mechanisms of delivering user service on the synchrotron beamlines will be continued and are contingent on effective training of users by the Center.s experienced beamline staff.

The Center will support more than 175 projects across all three cores that are supported by 212 peer-reviewed grants, including 200 from the NIH.